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Pullman Porter Museum honors labor

Sun, Sep 15, 2013


The A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum paid tribute to the Black labor movement in America and the legacy of its namesake during an August 25 fundraiser at the Museum, 10406 S. Maryland.

David A. Peterson Jr., Museum president, said that Randolph ignited the Black labor movement when he founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP). Until then the Pullman Company hired only African American men, who were not comparably rewarded for the profits they brought the company.

On August 25, 1925, 500 Porters made history when they met secretly in a Harlem lodge to hear Randolph’s plan to form the first black-controlled union to be admitted as full member of the AFL. It was also the first black union to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with a major U.S corporation.

Museum archives also describe the role of Randolph and Bayard Rustin in the March on Washington Movement (MOWM) in 1941. The threat of 100,000 people descending on the nation’s capital to protest the U.S. government’s failure to desegregate the armed forces and the defense industry in WWII led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue Executive Order 8802.

The Museum also honored the memory of union icons Charles Hayes, who was also elected to Congress, and Jackie Vaughn of the Chicago Teachers Union along with current CTU President Karen Lewis.

“As leaders of a cultural institution devoted to keeping the union story alive, it is appropriate that the A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum take the lead in honoring those African Americans who were trailblazers as well as those who are still fighting in the American labor movement today,” said Dr. Lyn Hughes, Museum founder.


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